By John Doe December 11 2017

SEO 101: What Are Longtail Keywords?

Anyone who has done the slightest bit of research into the world of digital advertising and SEO will undoubtedly have heard about keywords. They’re a super simple (yet super critical) concept that forms the cornerstone of any SEO strategy.

However, not all keywords are created equally – they come in many shapes and sizes.

One of the most important “flavors” of keywords you should be paying attention to is the longtail keyword – they can supercharge your blogging strategy.

Today we’re going to look at what they are, how they work, and why they are important.

Let’s get started.

Note: This is an entry level SEO article, anyone that knows a thing or two about the methodology behind keyword research won’t find anything ground-breaking here today!

What Is A Keyword?

Let’s start with the basics – what is a normal keyword?

Keywords are search terms that people type into Google to find pages with the information they are looking for. Let’s use a hypothetical solar panel installation company based in NYC to demonstrate this.

What are people going to type into Google to find this business? They’d probably be something along the lines of:

  • Solar Panels NYC
  • New York City Solar Panel Installers
  • Install Solar Panels NYC
  • Solar Panel Companies NYC

All of the above are examples of normal keywords (not long tail keywords).

What Is A Long Tail Keyword?

Longtail keywords are usually more phrasal and are much more specific with their search intent.

They almost always have a much lower search volume than normal keywords, which means they provide much less traffic. However, they also have much lower competition – which makes it more likely you’ll get to the top spots in Google if you target them.

Again using our hypothetical solar company, some example longtail keywords could be:

  • How much does it cost to install solar panels in NYC
  • Are solar panels a good investment in NYC
  • Do solar panels work well with the amount of sun in NYC
  • Does the government subsidize solar panel installation in NYC

How Do I Use Longtail Keywords?

The search volume and search intent of a longtail keyword tell you how you should be targeting it. Some things to consider are:

If the longtail keyword has a very small amount of searches per month, then it’s possibly not worth creating an entire post on it. Instead, you can create a section in a more general post to try and rank for the search term.

If the longtail keyword has a strong buying intent behind it (for example “buy solar panels in NYC with quick installation”) then it’s worth creating a dedicated post on the subject even if the search volume is low – as the traffic should convert at a higher rate.

You should try and include longtail keywords in every post you create. The amount of traffic they bring will be small at first – but over time they soon start to add up.

The Final Word

So there you have it, a very brief introduction into the world of longtail keywords.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to longtails – there’s a world of strategy and methodology to explore to implement them properly (which we’ll share in a more comprehensive post in the future).

But for now, at least you’ll know what people are talking about when you next come across the term.